LinkedIn is adding games to its website and app beginning Wednesday. From left to right: "Pinpoint," "Queens" and "Crossclimb."
New York CNN  — 

Watch out “Connections,” LinkedIn says it’s adding a variety of games aimed at making actual connections.

The Microsoft-owned platform, best known for professional networking and sharing news, is taking a page from the New York Times and adding three, free “thinking-oriented” games as a way to tap into the explosive popularity of brain-busting puzzles people are adding to their daily routine.

However, LinkedIn is adding its own twist to the games: Results are designed to be shared with co-workers, college alumni and associates at rival companies in an attempt to create camaraderie among your network and perhaps spark conversations and new connections.

People share articles less to push advice on people and more because “they’re trying to build meaningful relationships,” Daniel Roth, editor in chief of LinkedIn, told CNN.

“Games, as it turns out, is a really phenomenal way to do that,” he continued. “We’ve seen that with the recent explosion of short games that help you.”

What are the games?

Rolling out to users globally Wednesday are three games designed to be solved in under five minutes and are refreshed daily. Users will see a new games module in the “LinkedIn News” box in the upper right on the desktop website and in the “My Network” tab in the app.

The first game is “Pinpoint,” a simple word association game that reveals a different word each time for a total of five tries with the player guessing the common category.

The second puzzle is a time-based logic game called “Queens,” with the goal to add a crown emoji in every row, column and color-coded region on the board without the emojis touching each other.

The third is a trivia game called “Crossclimb,” which LinkedIn describes as a “combination of a crossword and a word ladder,” where players use your own trivia prowess and word library to fill out the words arranged in a ladder.

As the player guesses a word, they rearrange them so that each word in the ladder differs by only one letter, which then reveals the final clue to win “Crossclimb.”

LinkedIn’s expansion into gaming shows that some people are using it to replace more traditional forms of social media and are having more fun on it, according to Minda Smiley, senior analyst for social media at Emarketer.

“It’s no longer just a place for job updates and work anniversaries. The company’s move into gaming seems to capitalize on that behavior, though whether users will embrace it is a different story,” she told CNN.

Although the Times might currently control the cultural zeitgeist with its games such as Wordle, the combination of games and news isn’t new: The first crossword puzzle appeared in the New York World newspaper more than 110 years ago.

Roth said that seeing Wordle’s explosion in popularity, particularly during a pandemic when people were seeking connections, “was an eye-opener” because of the social component to people sharing their results.

Ultimately, Times’ games have become a major revenue driver for the newspaper. For LinkedIn, the purpose is to become another tool for users to expand their network, while having some fun.

“It’s all about helping you stretch and exercise your mind, but more importantly how this helps you really connect,” Laura Lorenzetti, executive editor for LinkedIn News, told CNN.

“Any games that we add to the suite will make sure that they fit into that ethos and hopefully in a year people are still playing these games and talking to each other,” she said.

If the games are successful, Smiley said it could spur users to “not only spend more time on the platform — something that’s appealing to advertisers — but post more as well, as they’ll likely be prompted to share their scores.”

“While the feature is ad-free for now, that could change in the future, especially considering LinkedIn is making moves to build out its advertising business,” she said, but cautioned LinkedIn against “throwing spaghetti at the wall in hopes of keeping users around, as it’s still primarily seen as a place for career-related discussions and networking.”